Mumsnet does not check the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you're worried about your pet's health, please speak to a vet or qualified professional.
This is a Premium feature
To use this feature subscribe to Mumsnet Premium - get first access to new features see fewer ads, and support Mumsnet.Start using Mumsnet Premium
Puppy buying sos(14 Posts)
I’m viewing a puppy tomorrow and have no idea on how to spot a puppy farmer or what questions to ask as all of my dogs have been rescue. Should I be concerned that the pups are only a week old? And what information do I need from the breeder?!
Basic things to consider:-
Before you even go and see the puppy - who is the breeder?
How did you find the breeder
Speak to someone that has already had a puppy from the breeder
I would only ever go to a breeder if I knew of them or knew of the puppies they hard reared before.
If first time breeder walk away
KC assures breeder does not equal a good breeder or healthy puppies
A good breeder will be grilling you to find out about what you want, your life style etc if they don't be worried
They should be happy to show you a license and all paperwork for the mum and dad and any health checks. Depends on the breed as to what health checks it needs - even if "poo" crossbreed there should still be health checks if not walk away
Kennel Club registration is not an indication of good health
Always see Mum and puppies together - no excuse ever for Mum not being there.
You may not see Dad but get the contact details and do speak to the Dads owner.
If the Dad is present check the relationship carefully to the mother
There are hundreds of more things to check BUT the biggest one is where did you find this breeder, what dogs do they breed and so a lot of background on the breeder before you even go and see the puppies.
I found the breeder on a gun dog group on fb? seems really nice but I know Facebook isn’t the place to buy a pup. Thank you for the help! X
I’d be a bit concerned that they’re a week old if they’re letting you see them, most breeders wait till they’re a bit older as they don’t want to introduce strange germs and bacteria...
From the breeder, you want to know why they bred that particular litter and chose those parents - if it’s not a good enough reason walk away. (IMO to sell them isn’t a good reason, nor are silly ones like, I want to let her have a litter)
You want to see all relevant health test results for that breed and the KC pedigrees - if they don’t have them, walk away.
They should be quite happy to talk about, their dogs, the lines they’re from and health/behavioural issues in the breed - if they’re not or don’t know, they’re huge red flags.
Ask them how they’re planning to socialise the litter (some breeders follow an actual plan)
You want to know what they come with as well, they should at a bare minimum come with insurance and KC paperwork with an endorsement to stop you breeding, most will give food, blankets that smell of mum and what have you as well.
Check what they do about vaccinations, some do it before they leave, some don’t - but you’ll want to know which and why.
You should feel pretty interrogated tbh, not asking you much or not wanting to meet everyone in your house should be huge red flags.
So if you are involved with gun dogs speak to other owners - do this today before you visit.
I would be worried that they do not have a waiting list
Have they heard of ENS if not walk away - this is vital for puppies in the early weeks
Crossposted - well you’ll not get KC paperwork then, but the parents should have theirs and everything else is still relevant except the possibility of 2 lots of health tests, I think though that they’re the same for both breed off the top of my head.
Do NOT view a puppy until you know already it is not a puppy farm. Saying 'no' to a theoretical puppy you have not seen is vastly easier than saying 'no' to one snuggled in your lap. It will be almost impossible not to buy a puppy you have met, even if you know it is a farm.
Seeing puppies at a week old would be a flag for me. It is a big health risk to the puppy - having strangers handle it at such a young age with an immature immune system. Besides, what can you tell from a week old puppy? Nothing. It'll look like every other 1 week old puppy. It will have no personality that you can tell, will not be able to interact with you.
Depending on their story, you should be able to find online evidence to back it up anything a breeder tells you about themselves. As an example, my breeder (springer) was also a breed judge - I could find several mentions of her on various dog websites as being such, so I knew that was true.
She had bred 5 litters previously. I could verify this by looking up the dogs on the KC website. Her mum had bred before. I could verify this also. I could find pictures of some of those litters and the kinds of homes they went to (e.g. one trained as a deaf assistance dog).
I could check the bitch's health (DNA) checks online and see photos of her in shows. That meant I could eventually match those photos to the dog I met.
I could do the same for the father and also see proof he had been shown in various competitions just as she said.
All of this was from websites other than hers. In short, I could independently verify pretty much everything she told me. I did all this before meeting any puppy and much of it before there even was a puppy (i.e. before pregnancy).
When I did meet the puppies they were 3.5 weeks old and she spent 2 hours talking to me about how I planned to raise and care for the dog. She quizzed me on why I wanted a puppy and why this breed especially. She asked about my experience with dogs. She asked what Battendog's typical day was going to be and what my emergency/back-up plans were if the day didn't go to plan (e.g. if I suddenly had to go into hospital).
She answered all my questions on her dogs, why she bred, any previous health or behavioural problems, how and why she chose to breed her bitch to that specific dog. All answers were informative, considered and filled with genuine care for the welfare of the breed and her dogs.
She could give good answers on the care the puppies received, including what experiences they would be exposed to before going to new homes: baths, hoovers, washine machines, travelling in the car, children, other dogs, adults, handling, being separated from their litter and mum, being left alone in a room for short periods, being indoors, being outdoors.
I met the mum and could see proof she had recently been feeding puppies. I could see her interacting with those puppies and see her reaction when I interacted with them. I received the contact details for the father's owner so I could check with them and arrange a visit to meet him, if I wanted.
She invited me to visit the puppies again before picking mine up. She encouraged me to think about it carefully and not rush into saying yes/giving her a deposit.
I could see a draft puppy sale contract. It included clauses that I would return the dog to her, at any point in its life, if I had to rehome him. She talked about the lifetime support she gave - any problem with the dog for any reason, and I could call her to talk it through.
There may be slight variations on this theme (e.g. working dog breeders won't have show history etc) but the fundamentals should be the same.
At that age you should be seeing all of the litter with their mother (even if some pups are already reserved).
Look out for how many other dogs are around. Not a problem if they have a lot of dogs but most reputable breeders will only breed one or two breeds, not half a dozen or more. If you have a phone number for them Google it and see if Gumtree ads etc come up.
As PP already said ,do your homework on what health tests should be done for cocker and springer spaniels. Ask on the fb group if other people know this breeder or own dogs from the same lines. An obvious puppy farm has lots of dogs, different breeds, in dirty sheds but most are more sophisticated.
If you are unsure walk away. You may think that you are rescuing one puppy but you are perpetuating the demand and possibly saddling yourself with a dog with lifelong (and expensive) health issues.
Again check before you go that the following tests have been carried out if spaniels and they have the paperwork in place to show you. Also make sure you research the expected results of the test below as some breeders will show you bad results and kid you they are good!
DNA test prcd-PRA
DNA test – FN
BVA/KC Hip Dysplasia
DNA test AMS
Thank you for your help fingers crossed it all goes to plan! I think I’ve made myself anxious!
Iwould cancel the appointment purely on the fact that the breeder is allowing visits at 1 week old. Why?! It might upset the mum and endanger the puppies. Decent breeders should allow you to visit at any time to meet their dogs, chat about the breed, discuss the home you are offering, etc but only from 5 weeks onwards for the actual puppies.
How did you decide in this particular mongrel cross? Why not go for a pure bred dog of either of these two breeds?